Ciwidey Takes Over

By Mimi Hudoyo

Ciwalini tea plantation: its hotspring is a growing attraction.
Picture by Mimi Hudoyo

TOURISTS to Bandung are familiar with the areas in the north – Tangkuban Perahu crater, Lembang, and Ciater – as these are THE tourist spots in the capital of West Java province.

But in the last few years, the local travel trade has discovered and introduced new tourist spots in Ciwidey, some 45km south of the city centre. Ciwidey’s attractions are quite similar to those in the north, but are “natural” and less crowded.

Bhara Mekar Wisata Tour managing director, Mr Herman Rukmanadi, said: “Like the packages offered on the northern tourist spots, Ciwidey offers crater and lake visits, tea plantation, hotspring, strawberry farms, and the strawberry jam home industry. But the difference is Ciwidey is less ‘touristy’.”

The opening of the Jakarta-Bandung toll road, with an exit in Kopo, has provided an easier access to Ciwidey. In addition, according to Batik Holidays managing director Mr Maktal, the site management and local government have imposed regulations to manage Ciwidey in such a way that it will not be “overdeveloped” like the tourist spots in the north.

Mr Maktal said: “Some tourists find the northern area overdeveloped and they are looking for something ‘natural’. Ciwidey is an alternative we can showcase to tourists. Kawah Putih (white crater) for instance, has its own charm and myths.”

Kawah Putih, the crater of Mt Patuha, is managed by a state-owned company, Perum Perhutani Unit III West Java and Banten.
The crater is all white but the crater lake changes colour – apple green, light blue, light brown and white. It was opened and given the status of an ecotourism site in 1991, but it only became popular in the last few years.

Kawah Putih is located 2,434m above sea level, a result of a 10th-century eruption. This crater is said to have one of the highest sulphur grades in the world.

“The local people believed that Mt Patuha was the meeting place of devils, as they saw from afar birds flying over the crater suddenly dying. But it was actually the strong sulphur which killed the birds,” the local guide, Mr Harry, said.
The crater is usually open in the morning until around 14.00 because the area is often thickly covered by fog in the afternoon.

“The strawberry farms, both traditionally and professionally run, are another draw, especially for domestic tourists,” Mr Maktal said. Strawberries are one of South Bandung’s main produce. A home industry producing strawberry products such as jam, syrup and candy is also growing here, in line with rising demand.

The other attraction of Ciwidey is the Ciwalini natural hotspring, located in the middle of the tea plantation which produces Walini tea, one of the most well-known brands in Indonesia.

The Ciwalini hotspring is gaining popularity among the locals and domestic tourists. The facilities are basic, hot water swimming pools for children and adults, plus some indoor private plunge pools for rent.

The backdrop of a mountain and the green tea plantation surrounding the hotspring makes the view from the pools stunning.

This article was taken from TTG ASIA.
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